A humerus idea: Swiss designer makes light switches, electrical sockets from animal bones


In Switzerland, recent ECAL design school grad Souhaïb Ghanmi had a particularly unusual final project proposal: repurposing bones from the animal processing industry into home electrical sockets and light switches. 

Called Ecol, Ghanmi says the goal is to limit waste, not generate controversy. “[Bone is as] strong as a stone but easy to carve, like wood,” he tells Fast Company. And, like the plastic that such pedestrian household fixtures are normally made from, bone is a good electrical insulator. 

To make the material, the bones are first thoroughly cleaned (obviously) and the marrow is removed. The remainder is left to dry, and then is ground into a dust. Ghanmi was able to source the material easily because ground cattle bones is already used in things like gelatin and china. 

Ghanmi’s first prototypes were 3D printed. He designed the light sockets to rotate, like a femur, and the light switches resemble the oval shape of bones when transected.